This 85-year-old Texan can’t wait to pick you up

If you call for a car in Dallas, Texas, you may find 'Papa John' at the wheel. He is an octogenarian who came out of retirement to drive in the gig economy – and loves it.

After 58 years in the insurance industry, John Marston retired at 82. He did some fishing, and spent time with his family in his home city of Dallas in the US state of Texas. After so many years working actively, however, ‘Papa John’ (as known to his family) was anxious to do something again with his free time.

At the suggestion of his eldest grandson, Papa John explored driving in the gig economy. The idea was not outlandish – many baby boomers are performing a career second act in the on-demand labour market with skills they already have. Some are developing new talents and interests entirely.

The gig economy is providing an opportunity for boomers who have not saved enough while planning for retirement to bolster their nest egg – of which there are many. The World Economic Forum estimates the current pension savings gap for the eight largest retirement economies – including the US and UK – at $70tn; by 2050, it is projected to grow to $400tn due to longer lifespans, poor financial literacy, low savings rates and other factors.

For others, social interaction allows them to stay sharp, up to date with technology, and involved with their communities. This, Papa John says, is what has kept him driving rideshare more than two and a half years later. (Although he certainly enjoys the extra cash in his pockets at the end of the day as well.)

Additional editing by Bernadette Young.

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